How to Make Homemade Tug Toys for Dogs

Homemade Tug Toys

Easily make your own homemade tug toys!

It’s surprisingly quick to make many inexpensive dog toys from materials around the house. On this page, we will focus on tug toys

Practically anything you make that is sturdy enough can serve as a tug toy. It simply needs to be something the dog can grab with its teeth that is long enough to be pulled between two things. 

Below are some ideas for homemade tug toys sent in by visitors to the site:

(Also see our homemade dog toys page or view more visitor ideas for homemade tug toys for other ways to make dog toys.)

Homemade Tug Toys From Socks

Tug Of War Sock Ball (Anonymous contributor)

I basically got loads of old socks; around 20

Tug toy made from socks

I started off with one sock and folded it into a ball; then put it into another sock.

Next I folded that sock with the other sock inside it into a ball etc.

I kept filling it up with socks until it got really big. I finished off with a football sock which I stuffed the big ball in half way, and left 2 ends out I tied a double knot in both ends.

Comments on this homemade tug toy: 

Super Cool by Daisy’sSis – I love it but i only used three big socks and made a pretty big ball but my dog only weighs six pounds so that was plenty. I threw it and she pounced on it immediately. Thanks for the tips – she was getting bored!

Anonymous – I was looking for something simple like this to give to the dogs at my shelter so they can have something to play with and this only took me like 15 minutes!

Anonymous –  I had to make a Christmas basket for a couple of the dogs in my area and I needed an easy toy like this… Thanks so much for taking the time to write this down for everyone else to see!

Crunchy Knot Tube by Jaylyn from Missouri

Make a long tube out of fabric and knot one end, fill with plastic bags and knot the other end. Crunch in front of your dogs nose and throw! Also makes a great tug toy. a warning though watch your dog to make sure He/She dos not tear it apart and inhale the plastic. If it gets flat after awhile just untie one knot and refile retie and enjoy.

Don’t forget to donate to your local shelter.

Pull-toy Enables Owner to Take Longer Nap! by Carol B. from Nevada, Iowa

I knotted a couple of clean socks together and added an extra knot or two. I tie this favorite pull-toy to the metal extension part of the recliner footrest. Into the loosely tied knots go pieces of his dry dog food which I can replace day after day!

Norman can work to get the food out while sitting beside me. Or sometimes he will come up to the chair with me in it and pull and pull on that sock toy! He gives it his all until I swear he’s going to pull the chair with me in it right over! (End of nap on those days!)”

Simple Treat Tug-o-war Dog Toy by Kendall from Omaha, Nebraska

Fill an old sock with some dogbones/treats. Tie a knot in the middle of the sock, then tie the end closed also. You have a perfect toy that will last almost 5 months – mine did.

Treat Tug by Stefan from Orange, California

Take a long sock and put up to 3 treats in and tie a knot so the treats won’t fall out. Have a good time with your dog!

Soccer Sock Tug Rope by Katie from Orangevale, CA

Take three old soccer socks or other long socks and tie them tightly together at one end. Next, braid them tightly together, ending the rope with a couple tight knots. voila! A simple, soft, stretchy, (and inexpensive!) tug rope. Try using two or three different sock colors for a cool pattern.

Tuggy Sock Dog Toy by Tabitha

This takes about five minutes and uses 4 socks.
Take two long socks and put another sock in each of the long socks.
tie a knot in the two long socks’ openings and you have a Tuggy sock toy!!!! One more thing. . . It should be a new sock so holes don’t catch in your dogs teeth.

Tug of War Sock Dog Toy (Anonymous contributor)

Takes 2 minutes. Use one strong sock ( It’s better to be new; a holey sock could catch at dogs teeth). Tie a knot in the center of the sock. Hold both skinny ends and let your dog grab the knot PULLL!!!

Tug-a-Sock by Stacy Macintyre from Nova Scotia

I have a new puppy who was 2 months old so what I did was took a sock and since her teeth were just coming in I thought well I should make something that won’t hurt her teeth. So I  got some stuffing and I stuffed the sock and sewed the bottom of it so she could play with it whenever she wanted and that’s how I made my Tug-a-Sock.

Sock-o-Tug by Amanda from Camrose, Albert, Canada

Here is all you need:

  • two socks
  • duct tape
  • permanent markers(optional)

What to do:

Stuff one sock inside the other sock. Then wrap where the sock ball ends with two layers of duct tape. If you want to make it cute, put a face with permanent markers on the sock ball.

My opinion on this toy is it works great for puppies teething and my puppy loves it.

Tug Toys Made From Socks and Tennis Balls

Homemade tug toys made from balls and socksby Grace

You will need:
2 long socks 
2 tennis balls
Put the tennis balls in the socks and tie the socks together

Tennis Ball Tug Rope by Anna

First gather up a long sock and a tennis ball. Then, put the tennis ball in the middle of the sock. On either side of the ball tie a knot. Hold on to one end of the sock still hanging and let your dog grab the other! Also works great as a toss toy!!!

Homemade Tug Toys Made From Fleece

Easy Fleece Homemade Tug Toys by Patti F. from Nampa, Idaho

Seen the ones in the store? My pack of four can destroy them in minutes playing tug. Solution: I made my own! 

I had some leftover fleece and started experimenting, with help from the pack. A yard of fleece will make several sizes, depending on your dogs. My dogs are big, so I take 4′ x 4″ (four foot x four inch) strips and braid them. Annie helps by tugging, but if you don’t have a 4-legged helper, knot three strips and have a friend hold and pull tight while you braid. You want it as tight as possible! I put an extra knot in the middle for long tuggies. Be sure to get those knots tight, too. I’m not very strong so I pull each strip individually and leave them a little long until the dogs have pulled the knots tighter. I then cut off the excess length. 

You can incorporate balls into your braid, or if you’re really good, add “arms” to it!

Braided Fleece Rope by Stacy from Bend, Oregon

I made this for my 100 pound black and tan coonhound so decrease the size for smaller dogs.

Fleece (available at any fabric store – make sure to check the bargain or remnants bin)

– Cut fleece into 1 1/2 to 2 inch strips
– I try to get 4-5 strips per bundle
– Knot the strips together
– Divide into 3 bundles
– Braid to the end
– Tie another knot

Fleece Rope Dog Toy by Lynne from Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Just get a long piece of fleece. Tie a knot in it every 10-12″. the finished piece can be anywhere from 1 foot to 4 foot long. My Basset Hound loves running thru the yard at full speed with his rope flying! The only thing he likes better is when one of the other dogs grabs an end and plays tug with him. Best part for people? 100% washable AND doesn’t fall apart if left in the rain!

Fleece Rope Tug Toy by Rebecca D. from Glendale, CA

I had an extra piece of fleece leftover from a blanket I made for my dog’s bed. It was about 24 inches long and 5 inches wide. I tied it in  a series of three knots, and we use it as a tug toy. It has lasted about 4 months so far. 

Homemade Tug Toys From Rope & Rawhide

Tug-A-War Rope by Payden

I wanted to make a Christmas present for my dog but didn’t know what to get. I thought and thought and finally I got it.

I made a tug a war rope for my dog by braiding three pieces of rope. It is very simple if you know how to braid. Then just tie knots at either end.

Tug-A-Rawhide by jk

This is something I make at my house:

Get a piece of rope and tie both ends with rawhide. Make sure its tight enough for the rawhide to stay in its place.

My dog goes crazy for it when I bring it out.

It lasts for about a day or 3.

Homemade Tug Toys Tied At One End

A Dog Alone Can Play Tug-of-War!  (Anonymous contributor)

Tie a thick rope on a tree branch or fence so it hangs down at head level (of your dog). Make a large knot at the bottom. Let your dog play! My dog will have furious games of tug with her toy, of course never winning! It may take some encouragement to get your dog to play with this new toy; try various ways to teach it. You can also get a normal thin rope and tie a toy on the bottom of the rope instead.

Baseball Tug Toy   (Anonymous contributor)

I drilled a hole through two baseballs and tied them to a tree branch so that they are just too far out of reach for my dogs to bite onto. They can get them, but it is hard for them to hold on and they slip from their mouths and spin.

Another variation of this is to make a tire swing from an old tire, and from the sides hang the baseballs or another toy so your dogs can play tug of war with each other and the tree.

Stick Attack: Homemade Tug Toy for Chewers by Maddie from Oregon

I took a metal bar, planted it as far as I could in the ground, really deep, making sure my dog could not pull it out.
Then I tied a rope (not chain) to the metal bar, took a tennis ball with a hole through the middle of it, and put it on the rope.
Next I tied the rope in a triple dawg knot . . . 

My dog LOVES it, plays on it for hours and hours a day, and I don’t have to take him/her to an expensive daycare anymore ! … Now when I go away I know just to close and lock the gate to my outyard and my dog stays and plays with it. 

Some dogs may try to pull the pole out of the ground – if that’s the case, you must put something around the bar or it might hurt your dog’s teeth, but besides that … have fun with your new and easy, free dog toy ! ! !

Inexpensive Dog Toys for Tugging

Homemade Dog Toys From Rags

Fabric Scraps Bone by an Anonymous Contributor

Make a ring out of a strip of fabric and tie smaller strips of fabric around the ring until full. Take both sides of the ring and tie them together to get a stick-like figure. Then around the figure tie some more strips until the toy feels solid. 

tug Tony made from rags
the completed tug toy made from rags

The size you need to make depends on the size/build of your dog. 

You can also make a similar circular toy by just making the ring and tying strips of fabric around the ring.

The Shirt Braid by Christine from Montana

A wonderful easy thing to make. Just take some old T-shirts and cut it into even strips but not too wide. Then Put the strips into three sections and braid them together! My dog loves this and is a great tug-o-war toy! It is so much cheaper than from the store and this one never breaks!

Here’s a similar version: Rag-Wad by Chloe from Pennsylvania

Shred old clothes/rags into long strips, then soak in water. Air dry. When dry, braid strips together and braid several braids together. Continue until you have a large wad or strip or firmly braided rags. Give to dog.

Towel Tug-of-War Toy by an Anonymous Contributor

You take an old, raggedy dog towel you don’t use. 
Then you roll it up hot dog style.
Cut a hole through the roll at each end. 
Use a rope or strip of towel and put it through the holes then tie it where the two ends of the strip meet. 
Use another dog towel and cut it in 5 different strips. 
Tie the strips on the roll wherever you choose to do so. 

When you’re done your dog will have a homemade tug-a-war towel dog toy that he or she will love, at least mine did!

Jean Tug Toy by Shannon from Richmond, Virginia

I took an old pair of jeans and ripped them in one long piece and then tied a knot in the center. I have a pit bull so he loves to play tug of war and he also likes to chew on the knot. It is very durable!

Durable Dog Toy for Tug-of-War by Linda S. from Pocatello, Idaho

This durable dog toy is very easy to make and makes a great tug-of-war toy.

I cut the leg off of an old pair of blue jeans and sewed up the small end. I then put a sqeaky ball in it and sewed it up in there so it could not come out, and presto, my first home made dog toy came to be!

Braided fun by Aja V.

All I did was cut the legs off (each leg) so that I had two tube-like pieces of jeans. Then I cut a line up the middle of the leg so that it was one piece of cloth. After that I cut three long even pieces of cloth (on both) then just started to braid them!!! 

These are my dog’s favorite inexpensive dog toys for tugging, and I am thinking about making another set because these two are getting torn to shreds.

Thanx, and hope you liked the idea!

Homemade tug toy from jeans by Samantha from Bayonne, NJ

Well I took my jean pants I didn’t need and cut 3 strips off of it. Next I tied the top in a knot. Next I braided it with the 3 strips and when I couldn’t braid it any more I tied that end. 
My dog wants me to play tug of war with her every day!!!

Inexpensive Dog Toys From Other Materials

Belt Rope by Alex from Reichard

I took a whole bunch of belts (5) and I twisted them together and tied a knot in them at the end.

Editor’s suggestion: Cut off any metal or plastic parts first so dogs do not hurt their teeth. The stronger the material used in the belts, the better large breed dog toys these would make.

Inexpensive Dog Toy Made From Felt by Adrianne Chin, Pennsylvania

I start with 3 different colors of heavy felt (sold by the yard at the fabric store). You will need 2 strips of each color each about 3 feet long.

Take one of each color, make a tight knot at one end to tie them all together, and braid, then knot them at the end.

Do the same braid to the other 3 strips.

Tie the 2 braids together in the middle. This make a great fetch or tug of war dog toy.

Oh Favorite Game – String Tug-a-war Toy by Alexis, Penn.

Crochet some strings. 
Twine them together.
Tie 2 knots, one at each end.

Jo notes: Alexis, this sounds like a sturdy tug-o-war dog toy, although it would seem that the crocheted strings would hold together better if they were braided (plaited) rather than just twisted around each other. Also, since string is a rather thin material you may need more than three sets of these crocheted strings to make a rope thick enough for some dogs to enjoy. 

There are instructions for braiding more than three strands on our How to make dog collar decorations page. The first directions are for four-strand braiding and then for six strands.

Cool Tugawar Tug Toy Made of Wool! by an Anonymous Contributor

Takes about 1/2 an hour (depending on how fast you can plait)

All you need to make this is wool!

  • Measure out 9 lengths of wool all about 40cm – 50cm
  • Plait the first three, being sure to leave about 7cm unplaited at each end (it helps to tie a knot in it to start with)
  • Then repeat with the next lots of wool.
  • Once you have done that undo the knots you put in (if you have) and plait these plaits together (again leaving the unplaited wool unplaited)
  • Then knot the ends of the whole thing leaving (again) the unplaited bit unplaited

This makes a great inexpensive dog toy for tugawar and my Chihuahua absolutely loves it (so do our other dogs but the Chihuahua especially goes nuts over it!).